ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) – A tornado was spotted and reported to the National Weather Service which was later identified by the Pinpoint Weather Team as a dust devil.
A tornado warning was issued for Adams and Arapahoe counties through 4:45 p.m. and Pinpoint Weather meteorologist Dave Fraser said it was likely a dust devil that was seen. The Adams County warning was rescinded shortly after it was issued, but the Arapahoe County warning remained in effect.
Video taken by Donovan Kelly shows the Interstate 70 dust devil in the player above.
What is a dust devil and how does it form?
Pinpoint meteorologist Chris Tomer explained that unlike tornadoes, landspouts are not always associated with thunderstorms. They often form from large dust devils. Due to their ability to form without a storm, they can occur on days when severe weather is not expected.
Dust devils can spin under blue skies when hot, dry air currents (known to pilots as thermals) organize into a vortex. Sometimes they can be swept along the base of a weak thundercloud, or just a puffy cumulus, by the larger-scale updraft. Essentially, the dust devil’s function joins the cloud to create what appears to be a tornado.
Thunderstorms across the Front Range
Scattered showers and thunderstorms will move through metro Denver and the Front Range through the early hours of Friday evening. A few thunderstorms could produce heavy rain. The greatest flood threat will be in the foothills west of Denver, through old wildfire burn scars.
A flash flood warning was issued this afternoon in Larimer County above the Cameron Peak scorch scar after half an inch of rain fell in 15 minutes. So far, no flood damage or injuries have been reported.
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